The Loss of Faith
“Faith means not wanting to know what is true”
~ Friedrich Nietzsche (German Scholar)
During the Holocaust, the Nazis’ caused more destruction than just ending the lives of innocent Jews. They destroyed the humanity of many, made them suffer, and shattered the faith that numerous had in God and themselves. The novel Night, by Elie Wisel depicts a clear representation of loss of faith from beginning to end in many Jews and he himself as well.
Elie begins the story as a teenager who yearns to be educated and gain as much knowledge he can of his religion. His faith was stronger than most of the Jews in the area of Sighet. His love for the Lord was extremely powerful as well. “By day I studied Talmud and by night I run to the synagogue to weep over the destruction of the Temple.” (p.3) Elie believed that he could sufficiently learn all areas of Judaism so he even asked his father to find him a master in the study of the Kabbalah to teach him more of it. (p.4) However, all his faith and beliefs were destroyed as he moved from camp to camp after his detainment. After seeing the horrific sights at the crematorium, everyone around him was weeping and reciting a prayer, Kaddish. “’Yisgadal, veyiskadash, shmey raba…May His name be celebrated and sanctified…’ whispered his father.” For the first time Elie began to question the whereabouts of God and how he was letting all this happen. “’…Why should I sanctify His name?…What was there to thank Him for?’” One thing was for sure and Elie “shall never forget the first night in camp.“ (p.34) His faith in God began to weaken and weaken, and it all went downhill from there. Elie still continued questioning God. “…Why do you go on troubling these poor people’s wounded minds, their ailing bodies?…Why would I bless his name? Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? Because He kept six crematoria working day and night.” (p.66-67)
... this terror and aggony Elie Wisel has kept his faith within God and has prevailed in surviving the many camps and death of his ... I share the sorrow with everyone who has ever read night or gone through the holocaust as an act of mourn ... I mourn the many lives taken in these horrible camps, the 6,000,000+ Jews exterminated all together throughout WW1. In saying this I ...
Not only had Elie lost faith in God but so have the other Jews. When the Oberkapo was arrested he was transferred to Auschwitz and never heard from again. All that was left from him was his little pipel, who remained silent but was condemned to death, as well as two other inmates. The SS officers decided to hang the three of them. The three chairs were tipped over as a whole crowd had to sit there and watch. “’Where is merciful God, where is He?’ somebody from the crowd asked.” (p.64) The two inmates died, but the little pipel still remained alive dangling between live and death. The same person from the crowd once again said “’For God’s sake, where is God?’” Someone replied, ‘”Where He is? This is where–hanging here from this gallows…’” (p.65) This scene illustrated that many people began to lose their faith in God. In a way the people were convinced that God have given up on them. They began to see that God wasn’t going to help them out of this mess. Many began to lose their religious dignity. “That night, the soup tasted of corpses.” (p.65)
People, most especially Elie, started to lose faith in themselves. During the night when groups of people were assigned to barracks, the SS officers gave strict orders. The Jews had to drag themselves to the barbers, as they shaved all the hairs on each of their bodies. After the barbers they were allowed to wander about, and everyone was just happy to see the ones who had survived, yet some were crying about their loss. “We were incapable of thinking. Our senses were numbed, everything was fading into a fog. We no longer clung to anything. The instincts of self-preservation, of self-defense, of pride, had all deserted us.” (p.36) This stated that all of their feelings and compassion were all gone. As the night passed, Elie realized that he wasn’t himself anymore. “I had become I different person. The student of Talmud, the child I was, had been consumed by the flames. All that was left was the shape that resembled me. My soul had been invaded–and devoured–by a black flame.” (p.37) Elie felt as if his soul was dead. The faith he had in himself was no longer there. It had been raided by the sights he saw in the first night in the concentration camp. His faith had now been burned to ashes.
... would end and they would be free. Elie started to lose his faith in god and he felt there was a void ... is helpful because if they gave up and lost faith then they would no longer have a reason ... dad behind. This shows that it was easy for people to start just considering themselves and ignoring everyone ... to wait. Later that night the father asks Elie Wiesel if he has seen his son, Elie Wiesel says no ...
In conclusion, many people during the Holocaust experienced the loss of faith. Elie Wisel portrayed the loss of faith as a recurring theme throughout his novel. It became to be clear how the Holocaust could have transformed a person and their beliefs, and even destroy them. It was a terrible event that made Holocaust survivors never forget what they had experienced, just as Elie Wisel did.